Not all the drama of the Olympics takes place during the Olympics. Some of it unfolds in the weeks and months leading up to the games, like the torch, for example.

In the spirit of the ancient Olympics in Greece, the Olympic torch is carried by runners over thousands of miles until it's finally carried into the opening ceremonies to light the official torch of the Olympic Games. In the case of the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta, a journey of 15,280 miles, from Los Angeles to Atlanta, represents quite a torch run. Obviously one person doesn't do it all, I mean, not even I am in that good a shape! Now, every Olympic year there are many runners who each carry the torch for a fraction of the journey and then they hand it off to the next runner. In the case of the Atlanta Games, Coca Cola selected 2,500 of the 10,000 torch bearers that were needed. They accepted nominations from anyone that you might know who you thought was "worthy to carry the torch."

You can't just study all the time when you're in college, you need a little diversion, right? For me it was that little social action group I put together called The Vigilantes. Now, our social action consisted of very strategic maneuvers - otherwise known as practical jokes. One of them turned out to be very impractical, actually. One well known senior had just gotten engaged and we felt he was especially deserving a special engagement, ahh, commemoration, shall we say. He was the advisor in the dorm of about forty freshman and we were seniors, hey, no problem getting in, putting our friend through a few engagement rituals, and leaving, right? That's what we thought. There were eight of us in our little war party and no sooner had we all gotten in the door of the dorm than we were attacked by 40 out-of-control freshmen. Someone had leaked our raid and our friend had all the freshmen ready to cream us! It wasn't very pretty. We slithered back to our dorms, sulked, humiliated, by freshmen no less! But I couldn't leave it there, of course, I went door to door in our dorm recruiting a small army in the name of "upper class honor." Pretty soon we had about 60 rowdy guys packed into a dorm lounge preparing for a return raid, those freshmen saw us coming in, it was the same eight guys, and they started coming at us, but the upper class men just kept coming. The freshmen learned their humility lesson that night, and our friend finally had his engagement appropriately celebrated. Oh, we had suffered a serious setback, but we responded aggressively!

The Seattle Mariners were in the middle of a baseball game when it hit, an earthquake. The sportscaster in Seattle King Dome said, "Man, everything is shaking here." Well, the newscast showed the reaction of Seattle star Ken Griffey, Jr.. Even though he is one of baseballs premier players, he suddenly did not have baseball on his mind. He ran over to a spot on the field where he could see his family in the stands - it wasn't baseball he was thinking of all of a sudden. He was motioning to his family to get out of that stadium, now!, and to start driving home. It reminded me of that night when an earthquake hit that third game of the 1989 World Series in San Francisco, and the remark the San Francisco catcher made. Even in the midst of a World Series dream coming true, speaking of the quake he simply said, "Sure does change your priorities, doesn't it?"

We had three kids. They all were in the junior high band at different times over a seven year period of time so I got to go to seven straight years of Junior High Band concerts. Now, I enjoyed watching our kids develop musically, but I cannot say that it was a memorable music experience. Now fortunately they stuck to pieces that were at their level. But suppose they had attempted Beethoven - okay, imagine you don't know much about Beethoven, I tell you, "Beethoven was a musical genius. Now why don't you come to the Junior High Band concert with me, they're playing a Beethoven symphony. I know you're going to be impressed with Beethoven's ability." Okay it's after the concert and I go, "Oh, what did you think of Beethoven?" You go, "I am not impressed." And tell you, "I know there were a lot of squeaks and squawks and instruments missing but please, please don't judge Beethoven based on the way they play His music! He is a genius, they just don't play His music very well."

One of the exciting episodes of my life in the past few years was working on the Billy Graham crusade at the Meadowlands, in Northern New Jersey. Man, it was well organized. One thing that was especially well organized was security. You've got thousands of people coming and going, so security, of course, had to be very well thought through. Now, it was my privilege to be the chairman of that crusade but I'll tell you, if I was stopped, I still had to have my proper badge on! It didn't matter what your title was because if you didn't wear your badge, you weren't going any further, you weren't even going in that night!

Okay, I thought we'd start off with a little magic trick today. I need a little of your imagination. Now, sitting on this table in front of me is this cellophane, okay? Right, okay. Now, next to it is this glove, all right, now here's the trick - my glove is going to pick up the cellophane. I'm lying right down next to the cellophane, okay, "Glove, pick up the cellophane!" Ah, "Glove! Pick up the cellophane!" Ah, nothing is happening. Now it doesn't matter what we do, no matter if we baptize this glove, if we get it confirmed, dedicated, rededicate this glove, it's never going to pick up the cellophane! Oh, but watch this, here we go, oh, actually, listen to this - now the glove is moving and it is moving toward the cellophane. Listen! (Sound of cellophane moving) Ah, you've just got to trust me, it is literally the glove picking up the cellophane. Are you amazed or what? Well, there is one little factor that I forgot to mention - I put my hand in the glove before I picked up the cellophane. It's amazing! All of a sudden that glove could do what, otherwise, gloves could never do!

 

Now, driving in Mexico is really an adventure. Actually, riding with someone who's driving is an adventure!

I was with our director of Latin American outreach a couple of weeks ago and he was very skillfully and amazingly navigating the challenges of the traffic in his city. It didn't really bother me much, I just took a sedative - no not really - but David's little boy Isaac was in the back seat and at one point our back seat helper reminded Daddy that he was supposed to be getting in the lane for an upcoming tunnel! It took a little doing, but David managed to get over there somehow, at which point Isaac had a word for his father. This little voice said from the back seat, "Good job Daddy!" Well, actually Isaac says that pretty often, he likes what his father does, and he tells him.

At 1:00 P.M., Tuesday, October 4th, 1995, much of America came to a sudden stop! Everyone was waiting for the O.J. Simpson verdict. Nine months! Probably the most watched, most analyzed trial in history and then we're all stunned when the jury announces they've reached the verdict in about four hours! So everybody was guessing, they're all buzzing about it, and then as the verdict hour arrived America stopped to hear it. The verdict will probably be debated for years but one thing is sure, we were obsessed with knowing what the verdict was.

I don't know how long Presidential candidates have had campaign songs, probably since George Washington! Now, Franklin Delano Roosevelt's was pretty famous, coming as it did through the Great Depression - "Happy Days Are Here Again." Now Bill Clinton had a song for his 1992 campaign, in fact he reached back, I think it was back into the '70s, for his song, remember? - "Don't Stop Thinking About Tomorrow." They used it so much some people wanted to sing, "Please Stop Singing About Tomorrow." Now I don't know how you feel about the candidate, and I don't even know if you like the song - but it's not a bad theme for your campaign!

Newsweek magazine reported on one mans very interesting response during the Popes last visit to Latin America. This man owned a produce stand, it was only a couple of blocks from where the Pope was making an historic personal appearance. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity to see the Pontiff. It seemed as if everyone went, except for "Mr Produce Stand." A reporter asked, "Ah, don't you believe in the Pope?" The dealer gave a very honest answer, he said, "Oh, yes, I believe in the Pope, but I trust in rice and beans!" I guess there's a difference!

            

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